In a year when one word, "fewer," described life in America -- fewer jobs, fewer home sales, fewer purchases -- hunters were responsible for generating a welcome "more" category, as hunting license sales rose by 3.5 percent in 2009 in states that make up NSSF's Hunting License Sales Index.
The 12-state index comprises several states from four main regions of the United States. Nine of those states recorded hunting license sales increases from January through December of 2009 over the previous year, according to Southwick Associates, a research firm that monitored the license sales information.
"Many factors such as weather and the economy affect hunting license sales in any given year, but in 2009 the economy likely had a more significant effect," said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF's director of industry research and analysis. "While the reasons for the 3.5 percent increase are speculative, past research shows that during slowdowns in the nation's economy it is possible that people have more time to hunt and that hunters take the opportunity to fill their freezers with nutritious, high-protein meat acquired at lower cost than if a similar amount was purchased at the supermarket." ...
Read it here. I think the increased sense of self-reliance that comes with hunting is also a factor, as well as the potential to fill your freezer with meat more cheaply than store-bought meat. For similar reasons, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the number of those buying fishing licenses is also up.